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Examining the Continuity between Life and Mind: Is There a Continuity between Autopoietic Intentionality and Representationality?

Wiese, W; Friston, KJ; (2021) Examining the Continuity between Life and Mind: Is There a Continuity between Autopoietic Intentionality and Representationality? Philosophies , 6 (1) , Article 18. 10.3390/philosophies6010018. Green open access

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Abstract

A weak version of the life-mind continuity thesis entails that every living system also has a basic mind (with a non-representational form of intentionality). The strong version entails that the same concepts that are sufficient to explain basic minds (with non-representational states) are also central to understanding non-basic minds (with representational states). We argue that recent work on the free energy principle supports the following claims with respect to the life-mind continuity thesis: (i) there is a strong continuity between life and mind; (ii) all living systems can be described as if they had representational states; (iii) the ’as-if representationality’ entailed by the free energy principle is central to understanding both basic forms of intentionality and intentionality in non-basic minds. In addition to this, we argue that the free energy principle also renders realism about computation and representation compatible with a strong life-mind continuity thesis (although the free energy principle does not entail computational and representational realism). In particular, we show how representationality proper can be grounded in ’as-if representationality’.

Type: Article
Title: Examining the Continuity between Life and Mind: Is There a Continuity between Autopoietic Intentionality and Representationality?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/philosophies6010018
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6010018
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Keywords: Active inference; autopoiesis; free energy principle; intentionality; life-mind continuity; predictive processing; mental representation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124604
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